Sunday, December 12, 2010

Time Magazine's Best of 2010

We started subscribing to Time a couple months ago to have fodder for my son's current events homework. When each issue arrives with its familiar red border I read it and my reaction is always the same.


Neither interest nor disgust, passion nor insight, whimsy nor affirmation. Nothing in this magazine resonates with me. The pages are slick and glossy and colorful, legible, readable and well designed and when I'm done turning those pages it's like a quarter hour alien abduction - I'm back in my chair with no memory of the last 15 minutes and only slightly confused. Maybe the name is well chosen - at least the publication consumes a small chunk of time.

So there's no surprise that December 20th issue's The Best of 2010 is like a Randy Johnson fastball to my John Kruk - way over my head. I have seen none of the top 10 movies or television shows and certainly none the plays, heard none of the top 10 music, read none of the top 10 books. You'd think that maybe, just maybe, I'd have better luck with the top 10 tech gadgets but no joy there either.

And to be perfectly clear this says more about me than Time. It's not too much of a challenge to hope that you're more timely than me. Check it out for yourself at


Francis Shivone said...

Good post. We somehow got on Newsweek's list a few years ago. I thought the same thing.

In the Time best of, I was:

1 - 10 TV episodes. (Lost)
0 - 10 Tech
0 - 10 Movies

IMHO -- there are still two national, general interest, print sources of good writing and something more than shock-jock journalism: the Wall Street Journal, which never ceases to amaze me, and the New York Times, whose editorials get me upset, but the Food section is better than most Food magazines.

Anyway, I agree with your Time assessment.

John said...

I may have shortchanged myself by half a point. My wife asked me to start watching Mad Men with her during the summer and I did for several episodes. The show seemed like a quality production that was very heavy on style but I didn't get drawn into the storyline in the short time I watched.

Because when football season started, my Sunday night dance card filled up.

Years ago my boss subscribed to the WSJ and I did enjoy reading it, especially the Market section. I fear the daily reading commitment if we were to subscribe again.

Selling me the NYT is much more of a stretch. I appreciate what you say but its smugness factor would be a huge hurdle for me to get over.

P.S. Do you go by Francis or Frank?

P.P.S. I infer from your posts that you're originally from the Philly area. If true, we must compare cheese steak preferences. My really good friend took me to Pat's so I feel somewhat committed. But at the same time, my friend actually prefers a place called John's (?) near Cherry Hill, NJ.

John said...

I've been asked to clarify my comments on the top 10 music. Instead of "heard none of the top 10 music" it would be more accurate to say that I neither own, desire to own, or could recognize any of the top 10 music. I may have heard it in passing on the radio and I may recognize the artists' names but that's the extent of my awareness.

My son is quite the language lawyer.

Francis Shivone said...

John -- I had a feeling the NYT comment wouldn't pass through. And I agree with you on the tone. But there are sections that I like, especially the Sunday edition.

As far as the Time's Top ten music goes. I did not recognize any names or titles except for Kanye West, and I thought he was a football player, until now. But it's been a downhill roll since Abbey Road for me, Dave Matthews being the only exception.

Gino's and Pat's are busy but I don't care for either of them. I prefer a crustier roll and provolone cheese. Here's a link to my favorite:
Just south of PHL airport.

Name: Fran, actually. My mother, may she rest in peace, called me Franny as did (and still do) a few high school buddies.

I've said it before, but for the record, you have a great blog, thanks.

Should be a good game tonight. After 30 years in TX I pull for all local teams.

John said...


Am I that transparent re: NYT? I try to veil the real me behind humor and other obfuscating verbiage.

I've asked my Philly connection for an opinion of DiConstanza's. He's also my beer guru in case you're interested.

I like your comment about local teams. IMO, a football fan has to root for the home team simply because. Thankfully, I don't live in Pittsburgh or Baltimore.

Thanks for reading the blog. Coincidentally, I got kudos for it out of the blue from a retweet. This simply amazes me. I started writing it for an unlikely set of reasons. I collect web sites and used to "publish" them on my computer simply to keep track of them. I wanted to learn how blogging software worked. I wanted something that would provide a forum to practice writing. I wanted a way to share odd stuff with my boys. I only pick things I like without regard to readership. The only effort is to try to string them together in a sequence that gives the illusion of a plan and intelligence.

Jim said...

Funny, I have had this same experience reading _Wired_.

For weeklies, I enjoy "The Week" - it's a pretty quick read and my wife and enjoy doing the crossword.

The Economist is excellent, but I found that I didn't have enough time to read them through before the next few pop up.

John said...


When we ordered Time (through a H.S. band fund raiser) we also ordered National Geographic. I figured at least I'd enjoy the pictures.

The Economist is way outta my league.

John said...

And what arrives in today's mail but a subscription form for The Economist.